Facebook ‘Likes’ Can Reveal Information About You – So What?

225

Facebook “Like” Button

If you are a Facebook user you are probably familiar with the ‘like’ button. If you are not a Facebook user, you have probably seen a Facebook ‘like’ button on other websites. Described by Facebook as a way to “give positive feedback and connect with things you care about”, users can “like” status updates, comments, photos, and links posted by their friends, as well as adverts, by clicking the “Like” button at the bottom of the content. This makes the content appear in their friends’ News feeds. The “Like Button” is also available for use on websites outside Facebook: “When the user clicks the Like button on a site, a story appears in the user’s friends’ News Feed with a link back to the website”

like

Researchers at the University of Cambridge performed a study on the Likes of 58,466 Facebook users and were able to determine users’ IQ, gender, sexual orientation, political and religious beliefs, and even substance use, with an accuracy rate of more than 80 percent.

Media Warning Users

There are several articles published now from CNN, the LA Times, CNET just to name a few warning users that people are able to predict certain traits about a person based on their Facebook ‘likes’.

So what? Strangers have been able to determine most of these facts already way before Facebook came along. When you go to a restaurant, order a meal, interact with the waiter, interact with your dinner party or date, he is probably able to determine the same traits from you. Then you could argue that your name is on Facebook and where you are from. When you pay for your meal, chances are you will use a credit card. Your credit card has your name on it. Unless you are from out of town, then the waiter would know your name and location as well.

Nothing on The Internet is Truly Private

When you ‘like’ something on Facebook, you are not liking it to tell yourself that you like it. You are letting other people know that you are interested in that brand, subject, religion, ect… Even though there are privacy filters out there, Facebook users really need to realize that Facebook is on the Internet and that it is public. Facebook can guarantee to protect your privacy all day, but members need to realize that nothing on the Internet is truly private. If you don’t want people knowing something about you, then don’t put it on the Internet.

Are you worried about your privacy now after the findings from this study? Comment below and tell us about it!

Tim Martin is a Technology specialist, who gives us insights into the technology and software that helps us to get through our day. Technology is everywhere, an increasingly pervasive part of our lives. Tim helps us make sense of it in many ways.